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					                     UNIVERSITY of BRIGHTON


               MSc Business Process Management

            Fourth Year of Operation of the Course: 2006

                   Course Leader: Peter McCullen

Course Management Team:

Course Leader:         Peter McCullen
Course Administrators: Julie Watson

          Five students from the seven students seeking work placements
           were successful, and included placements with ‘blue chip’
           companies including Unilever and Xerox. The provision of this route
           is expected to considerably increase the employability of graduates
           on the course.
          The school’s Industrial Placements Office is now providing
           placement preparation and ‘leads’ to students on the course.
          The course has been amended to include a module in Applied
           Management Research Methods.
          Presentation workshops (shared with MA Management) have been
           added to the induction programme to improve preparation for some
           of the module assessments. The provision of a well developed
           induction programme contributes to the high retention rates
           experienced by the course.
          The applications received for 2006-7 were above the historic
           average, but returned to their previous level for 2007-8. Lower than
           average ‘offer’ and ‘conversion’ rates led to a disappointing drop in
           enrolments from 13 to only 6 in 2007-8.
          The course design is to be re-evaluated with a view to widening its
           appeal through an additional route and title and provision of
           electives; to be achieved within a similar resource envelop through
           greater sharing with other specialist masters degrees.
          A student of the course wrote a paper on her work placement
           project and presented it at the International Symposium on Logistics
           in Budapest in July 2007.
          The use of marking templates is to be extended from the
           dissertation/work placement report to taught modules.
          Two field trips were organised to Jaguar and Southampton
           Container Port, and these were greatly appreciated by the students.

In its fourth year the course recruited 13 students, one of whom joined in the
second semester. This is the second year that we have admitted a student at
the start of Semester 2. The option of a February start is attractive to a few
applicants, and seems to be viable providing the new students can be quickly
integrated into the main cohort. Only one student left the course during the
first two weeks, with the rest of the cohort progressing from Semester 1 to
Semester 2. During the induction period students are given ‘ice breaking’ and
career planning exercises, as well as an induction project. It would seem that
these measures are effective in terms of achieving social integration,
commitment to the course and therefore contribute to retention. The 2006-7
cohort was highly cosmopolitan with students from the following countries:
Greece (4), China (2), Finland (1), UK (1), Uganda (1), Pakistan (1), Brazil (1),
Cyprus and Turkey (1).

This is the second year in which an industrial placement has been offered as
an optional route, and the first year that this has been supported by the

MSc Business Process Management M&E Report 2006-7
school’s industrial placements office. The course team have been very
grateful to the Industrial Placements Office for their work in preparing the
students for job search through CV improvement and mock interviews. It has
also been very good to see some of the contacts with BSc European Business
with Technology placement companies being refreshed. A total of 5 students
from the cohort of 12 undertook a work placement. Three of the work
placements were organised via the industrial placements office, with all 3 at
Unilever in Crawley. The remaining 2 work placements were self-organised by
students: one with Xerox; arising from a previous work placement on a UK
accounting degree, and another with a Greek textile manufacturing company
based in the student’s home town. A student who started in Semester 2 2005-
6 is also completing a self-organised work placement at Kate’s Cakes in
Ashington. The nationalities of the students who sought a work placement
were British, Greek, Finnish, Cypriote, Ugandan and Brazilian. Unfortunately
the Ugandan and Brazilian students were unable to find a work placement
despite considerable efforts from themselves and the Industrial Placements
Office, which perhaps indicate that it is generally more difficult, although not
impossible, for non-EU students to be placed (a Turkish and a Mexican
student having been placed in the past).


Course aims are reproduced below:

         Acquire a detailed and comprehensive knowledge of internal business
          processes and supply chain management
         Acquire sound knowledge and understanding of relevant aspects of
          accounting and human resource management
         Acquire detailed knowledge of quantitative techniques and software
          tools applied to problems in business process management
         Acquire knowledge and insight into the application of e-commerce to
          business process management
         Develop analytical skills and change management capability
         Conduct an in-depth investigative study into a relevant topic leading to
          a dissertation


4.1       Recruitment

                                        03/04     04/05      05/06      06/07         07/08
Enquiries                                24        127        126        166            84
Applications                             31         78         84        112            82
Offers                                   24*       53*        74*        75*           40*
Enrolments                                6         9          10       12+1**       6 + 4***
Females                                   2         2          2          5             5
Males                                     4         7          7          8             5

MSc Business Process Management M&E Report 2006-7
Entry qualifications:
       First degree or equivalent       6         9          9          13          6
       Other HE
       Not qualified at HE level
Entry management level
       Main board-level director
       Other director
       Department head
       Manager (not dept head)
       Small team Leader
Withdrawals                             2         2          2           1          1
Taking assessment                       4         7          8          12
Passed first time?                      4         6          6           5
Referred and passed                     -          -         1
Failed                                  -         1          -
     Deferred/Intermitting              -         -          1           1

*     of which 10 in 03/04, 31 in 04/05, 24 in 05/06, 38 in 06/07 & 20 in 07/08
were conditional (usually on language proficiency)
**    joining semester 2
***   1 taking sem one only, 1 repeating 2 modules, 1 Eng student taking 2
modules & 1 American student taking one module.

The entry year 06/07 showed a 33 percent increase in the number of
applications over the previous year, but no increase in the number of offers.
Nevertheless, a recovery in the conversion rate to 17 percent (enrolments
over offers) resulted in a cohort of 13 students for 06-07, which is the largest
achieved in the course’s history. Unfortunately the larger cohort has proved to
be less academically successful than previous intakes, with the percentage of
students passing first time falling to 41 percent compared to an average of 84
percent achieved over the previous three years. This evidence seems to
suggest that the course is not attracting sufficient numbers of able applicants
to reach its target intake of 15-20 enrolments.

The entry year 07/08 showed a reduction in the number of applications from
112 to 82, back down towards the historical average of 76. The percentage of
offers over applications also fell sharply to 48 percent compared to a historical
average of 74 percent. Consequently the number of enrolments in 07/08 fell to
6 students, the lowest achieved since the first year of the course’s operation in

4.1.1 Offer statistics and conversion rates

MSc Business Process Management M&E Report 2006-7
The table below shows the percentage of offers over applications and the
conversion rate of enrolments over offers.

Year                   03/04        04/05       05/06       06/07        07/08
Offers/applications    77%          68%         88%         68%          48%
Conversion rate        25%          16%         13%         17%          15%

The sharp drop in the percentage of offers made for 07/08 is perhaps due to
the implementation of the centralised admissions system for postgraduate
courses. The conversion rate is slightly below its historical average of 17.7%,
possibly as a result of the £1000 fee deposit introduced by the registry late in

4.2    Degree results
Of the eight students completing all assessments in 2005-6, six students were
awarded an MSc, three with distinction. One student is repeating modules,
and another has one referral and a module assessment to submit at the first


     Internal Quality Audit

Some representative student feedback is reproduced below:

Good things about the course
   The assignment in Supply Chain Management gave us a good
     incentive to look into a real supply chain, which was truly rewarding.
   Trips (to companies) were helpful to understand real supply chain
   Trips – just the right amount, but perhaps better timing with the last
   Competitiveness was good – tied in with previous university work.
   Very good mixture of theory and practical implementation through trips
   Good use of alternative sources within classes.
   Friendly environment.

Suggested improvements
   More direction and support for assignments
   Maybe one more field trip to an organisation like Royal Mail or DHL.
   Lectures could be used more efficiently, reading stuff in class don’t help
     very much, I prefer to read them before or after the lecture, so that
     lecturers could have more time to speak on the topics in the lectures.
   More help needed in finding companies to interview.

Commentary on student feedback

MSc Business Process Management M&E Report 2006-7
The academic components of the course continue to attract very positive
feedback from students, who comment on the good mixture of theory,
practical application and integration with business knowledge. There is a need
to start collecting student feedback on work placement experiences.

This year there were two field trips; to Jaguar at Castle Bromwich and to
Southampton Container Port. This was the first time that we have visited a
port, and it was a truly eye opening experience. The tour was preceded by a
talk on the port’s marketing strategy and operations. Some students felt that
the trip was organised rather late in the academic year and too close to
Semester 2 hand-in dates. A number of students would like even more field
trips, but there are practical limitations to the number that can be financed and
accommodated within a single academic year.

The comment regarding direction and support for assignments was only made
by one student, and staff must balance this with the need for students to
acquire independent study skills. It is hoped that the more widespread
provision of marking templates will further assist students in their assignment

This year the requirement to interview a company for the Supply Chain
Management assignment proved, for the first time, to be difficult to fulfil
despite determined efforts by some students. The majority of students based
their research on published material. As the work submitted consisted of a
mixture of interview-based assignments and secondary research-based
assignments, it became difficult to apply the same set of marking criteria to
both types of work. This assessment issues is to be ‘tightened up’ through the
implementation of marking templates.

A number of students have commented on the practice of handing out case
studies within the two hour teaching sessions, and staff will be encouraged to
provide more case study material in advance.

   External Quality Audit

       The External Examiner has once again remarked on the quality of the
       quantitative work in Operational Research. He has noted our adoption
       of his suggestion to implement a weighted marking scheme for the
       dissertation and work placement report, and has suggested that this
       ‘marking template’ approach be extended to other modules on the
       course, so that the students can ‘see where the marks are coming
       from’. He has also suggested that students might benefit from a more
       formalised approach to the dissertation/work placement report.

       Following these very helpful suggestions marking templates are to be
       adopted for all modules in 2007/8 and the course structure has been
       amended to include MNM55 Applied Management Research Methods
       (already taken by MA Management students), which must normally be

MSc Business Process Management M&E Report 2006-7
         passed before students are allowed to progress to the dissertation or
         work placement.

         The course continues to benefit from the efforts of a small group of
         experienced and committed staff. IT staff have attended events
         organised by the Business Process Management Group on the
         Zachman framework (enterprise architecture) and other enterprise-
         oriented developments. There are some staff changes in 2007-8, with
         Clare Millington taking all of e-commerce and integrating Tony
         Brinklow’s material on the Unified Modelling Language (UML) and the
         Rational Unified Process (RUP) into the module as a whole. Laura
         Sheehan, a Reader in Human Resource Management will be joining
         Colin Harris on the Managing People for High Performance. Students
         will now be taking Applied Management Research Methods as a core,
         and this module is led by Penny Simpson, who has recently been
         awarded the university’s Diploma in Research Methods.

        There is a growing body of books with ‘Business Process’ and ‘Supply
        Chain’ in the title, and we will continue to ask the library to make some
        purchases in this area.

         Student feedback in 2005-6 indicated that some exposure to SAP (an
         ERP system) would help to improve employment prospects. Initial
         investigations indicate that a university hosted version of SAP would be
         costly to install and maintain. We are investigating the possibility of
         using a ‘web service’ version of ERP software. It is possible that some
         development time would be necessary to develop the necessary
         teaching and learning materials.


8.1      Measuring Academic Health
         Academic health is assessed through feedback collected directly from
         students and via the course rep. With the introduction of placements
         there is a new requirement to collect employer feedback as well. Now
         that the Industrial Placements Office is involved in the placements
         process, it is possible that we will be able to exploit the employer
         feedback that they routinely collect.

8.2      Course Team
         The small group met informally, and co-ordination seemed to be

      Future Developments
         Efforts to obtain professional accreditation have been frustrated by
         changes in the relevant professional bodies. The most obvious

MSc Business Process Management M&E Report 2006-7
     organisation has been the Business Process Management Group, but
     this has recently changed its identity to the Bennu Group, which is now
     an even more commercially oriented organisation. The Chartered
     Institute of Purchasing and Supply would be unlikely to provide
     accreditation for the current syllabus, as it contains insufficient
     purchasing and no contract law.

     The course has very good links with the Institute of Operations
     Management (IOM), but this professional body is currently merging with
     the Institute of Logistics and Transportation (ILT). Once the merger is
     complete this accreditation route will be investigated.

     The disappointing recruitment for 2007-8 points to a need to widen the
     appeal of the course. Some possibilities being considered include: the
     addition of another route leading to an award title which includes
     ‘supply chain management’ or ‘logistics’ in the title and the provision of

     It is hoped that the Extended Masters route will be up and running for
     2008-9, and that this will provide a more seamless route for
     international students requiring English Language preparation.

     The course includes a well developed induction programme which
     contributes to retention, with only an average of only one student being
     ‘lost’ per year. The induction programme was augmented this year
     through the inclusion of two presentation skills workshops shared with
     the MA Management students.

     The development of the work placement route and the achievement of
     5 work placements for the 2006-7 cohort of 12 students is a major
     achievement given the cosmopolitan make-up of the group. Four of
     these work placements are with ‘blue chip’ companies including
     Unilever and Xerox. Past experience has shown that the work
     placement contributes directly to the employability of the course’s

     One student from the 2005-6 cohort developed her work placement
     report on improving the planning system of a medium-sized food
     manufacturer, into a conference paper which she presented at the
     International Symposium in Logistics held in Budapest in July 2007.
     The paper was very well received by conference delegates.

     The Business School hosted an IOM event in September on ‘Cash is
     King’. This event was attended by local businesses and by students of
     the course, giving them a direct insight into the concerns of local

MSc Business Process Management M&E Report 2006-7

      Module content was informed by teaching staff research into simulation
      and Supply Chain Management (Aim 4).

      On-line journals have been extensively used by students.

      Studentcentral has also been a significant resource.

10.   ACTION PLAN FOR 2007-8

         Start collecting feedback on the student experience of the work
         Make use of the employer feedback that is routinely collected
          by the Industrial Placements Office.
         Extend the use of marking templates from dissertations/work
          placement reports to assignments for the taught components
          of the course.
         Encourage staff to provide more case study material in
         Review the latest books in Business Process Management and
          advise the library of necessary purchases.
         Investigate the possibility of using a ‘web service’ ERP
          software and resources to develop appropriate teaching and
          learning materials.
         Investigate accreditation from the IOM once the merger with
          ILT is complete.

MSc Business Process Management M&E Report 2006-7

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